It's been a year now since Jaime Chevalier and her staff at Textures began a recycling program which puts chopped-off-locks to good use.
Instead of sweeping hair from the floor of the Virgil salon and placing it in garbage bags, Chevalier found out a company which recycles hair.
Partnering with Green Circle, a Toronto company, the salon has been working to recycle their waste. The company picks up many items —including discarded hair, plastic tubes and foils that are typically found in every salon—and ensures these items will be recycled. And it has certainly made a difference.
Has your mother ever cut a lock of your hair and kept it in a drawer? Years later that lock of hair looks the same as it did the day it was cut. Chevalier points out hair takes a long time to decompose.
"Hair can build up in a landfill and just sit there because it doesn't disintegrate easily. Hair can be a great fertilizer in the agricultural industry, but only if it's disposed of properly."
The hairstylist says the salon will now recycle the tubes of colour which are used to dye hair.
"Instead of dumping the tubes of colour down the drain and into the water system, we will be disposing of them in an environmentally friendly way."
The salon asks for a $1 contribution from each customer to help with the costs of disposing hair, tubes and colours.
If customers don't wish to participate, Chevalier says still continues to recycle everything to help reduce the environmental foot print of the salon.
"Most customers are on board with what we are doing, but if some don't wish to participate that's okay to."
She says most people are amazed when they see the amount of hair which could have ended up sitting in a land fill.
In the first year of the recycling program, Chevalier says the salon has saved 364 pounds of foil and 60 pounds of hair.
The manager says she is not sure how much colour the salon will save. "But every little bit helps."
The hair stylist industry is not known for being an environmentally friendly one says Chevalier.
But, the staff at Textures has been working hard to recycle and using low voltage lighting.
She says staff members at the salon have been supportive of the recycling program and they have been very conservative of the colouring and the chemicals they use while working.
"I know we are doing a good thing."
Visit www.greencirclesalons.ca for more information about green salons in the area.